Happy Birthday Tom Selleck: Looking Back at His Classic Western, ‘Quigley Down Under’

by Joe Rutland

As actor Tom Selleck celebrates his 76th birthday on Friday, let’s take a look back at one of his classic westerns, “Quigley Down Under.”

Most people know Selleck from his roles as Thomas Magnum on the TV series “Magnum P.I.” and New York Police Commissioner Frank Reagan on TV’s “Blue Bloods.” Yet he also has found himself on the big screen, too.

“Quigley Down Under,” released in 1990, starred Selleck as Matthew Quigley, an American cowboy from Wyoming who finds himself in Australia, which was part of the British Empire at the time.

He quickly gains attention as a hero, defending an elderly couple from attack as well as a woman from being taken away against her will. Her name is Cora, portrayed in the movie by Laura San Giacomo.

Tom Selleck Finds Quigley Facing Challenge In Outback

Quigley has quite a reputation as a sharpshooter and a gentleman named Marston, played by the legendary Alan Rickman, hires him to keep the Aboriginals off of his land. Quigley, though, refuses to accept the position. He soon finds himself and Cora left for dead in the Outback.

It is the Aboriginals that rescue them from their plight.

Cora begins to share more about herself with Quigley, telling him that she’s originally from Texas. Her home was attacked by the Comanches and she hid in the root cellar. As she did, Cora accidentally suffocated her child while trying to keep him quiet. Her husband had to put on her on a ship alone to Australia.

Quigley, in Cora’s eyes, becomes Roy, her husband’s name. She calls him this over and over again.

Quigley has a pretty long memory so he and Cora set out to return from the Outback. They head back toward Marston’s ranch to settle things.

The movie follows an age-old story about getting revenge after being slighted by another person. This type of story is in a lot of Westerns, where regaining your dignity once it has been taken away is an important matter.

‘Quigley’ Managed To Earn More At Box Office Than Budget

“Quigley Down Under” earned $21 million at the box office, which is slightly more than its $18 million budget.

Tom Selleck also found himself doing western movies on TV with “Last Stand at Saber River” and “Crossfire Trail.”

Rickman was coming off his role as Hans Gruber in “Die Hard,” which starred Bruce Willis. That movie secured his spot as being an all-time movie villain. Rickman, though, would also be known for playing Severus Snape, the Potions Master and head of Slytherin House in “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.”

But Selleck, who actually was up for the main role as Indiana Jones in “Raiders Of The Lost Ark” before it went to Harrison Ford, found himself in a solid spot on TV.

His roles have made Tom Selleck a household name all over the world. Tackling the role of Quigley let him have a taste of Western film life. It was a success, but the small screen has provided much more success in his life.

So, here’s wishing actor Tom Selleck a great birthday with thanks for providing hours of entertainment on TV and in movie theaters.

H/T: Cheatsheet